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East Coast guitarist Steve Herberman presents a program of his original compositions on Action: Reaction. Along with bassist Drew Gress and drummer Mark Ferber, he romps and stomps in jazz's modern mainstream climate with creative asides added into each selection. Theirs is an equal-sharing trio that puts each voice into the spotlight throughout the session. Each artist takes solo opportunities, but the emphasis remains on three-way duties where everyone leads together.
Herberman plays a 7-string guitar, which extends the bass range of the instrument. Thus, his interpretations move fluidly up and down the registers with utmost freedom. His songs offer up a lyrical presence that floats delicately as if riding on a cushion of air. Herberman articulates with the fingers of his right hand instead of using a pick; thus, achieving a natural outlook that melds comfortably with that of double bass and drums.
The mood varies. "Negev Journey runs exotic, while "Shoutin' Down belies a taste of the blues. Most of the program maintains a clear dedication to lyric beauty. With Herberman's fluid technique, that's not difficult. It's natural. Both Gress and Ferber keep each melody close at hand while pushing their respective viewpoints with a casual motion. Crisp and clear, their conversations mimic that of the guitarist.
The trio rocks when the song calls for it and settles in comfortably for a gentle respite elsewhere. They keep things cool and cozy. Rooted in the music of Wes Montgomery and Grant Green, Herberman's originals carry a familiar air while bringing new melodies to the forum. His trio brings us a lyrical session that proves unforgettable in its devotion to melodic beauty.
I was first exposed to jazz while learning to play chess with my uncles. They would play smooth jazz, and then switch up to more standard types of jazz. But, when they played Kind of Blue by Miles Davis, I was
hooked and I haven't looked back.